I have thought about this topic in the past, but I don’t think I have ever had any discussion of it publicly. I may have written about it here in the past year or so. But either way, watching this video today brought it back to the forefront of my mind.
I try and frame most of my entries as an exploration of why I think the way I do, but for this entry, I will not go in that direction. Mainly because there is no real “right” or “wrong” when it comes to the use of AdBlock or similar services. This more of a rant then anything. With that said, I will get right to the meat and potatoes.
I am not an AdBlock user. I never have been an AdBlock user, and never will be.
One of the reasons for this, is because I see advertising, as one of the things that keeps the heart of the Internet beating. It is these ads, that keep social media, email, video viewing (and sharing), blogging and other services that are now indispensable to many, free.
When you pay your broadband/Internet bill at the end of each month, you merely paying for the pipe(s) that brings all these services into your home (or to your mobile device). Your money is going towards the maintenance of your broadband ISP’s servers, fiber optic cables and other expenses within the home network (as well as into their profit margin. Im luck in that respect, as my ISP is a co-operative). And your cellular data bill goes into the maintenance of the towers your devices utilize, the networks that tie the mobiles into the Internet, and of course into profits.
None of this money goes back to the service providers accessible over their corresponding services. Remember this, when it comes to the net neutrality debate. If the worst that people suspect were to come to fruition, not only would you as a user be charged for utilizing the “pipes” of your ISP/Carrier, but content providers may also have to pay the very SAME providers, just to maintain the good speed of service that we all enjoy today.
Not having net
neutrality is not good for ANYONE, do not let the lobbyists or their bought and paid for politicians tell you otherwise.
But I got a bit off topic. The point is, no matter how high your Internet bill is at the end of the month, none of that money makes its way back to any of the services you use online. Which means that the money keeping those services alive is both your data (which us another entry all together), and Ads.
When it comes to ads online, I understand how some can find them annoying, but that is really not the case for me. Sure, there are some aspects of online advertising, that are less then desirable.
One, is pop ups (though those are largely going out, since most people have pop up blockers enabled). Another, is how some websites are TERRIBLE when it comes to serving up ads of any interest for you (if I view primarily Atheistic oriented content, why do I still see “Christian Mingle” or “Muslim Singles” box ads?).
And as much as I hate “Feminist Frequency” and most viewpoints on said youtube channel, they have a point that most ads on file sharing portals are, overly raunchy.
But I put up with these ads, because they pay the bills, when it comes to keeping all the services I use daily, affordable (aka free). I would not blog, use social media or other services, if their was a fee to do so. I may not even bother to keep up an email address, if doing so were to cost money (I only keep in constant contact with one person by email now).
For me, if the cost of a “free” service is putting up with an advertisement or 2, its a small price to pay. There are many advertisements out in the world that I can not block out (billboards? newspapers/magazines?), so I treat web ads in the same way (just ignore them).
Another reason for this, is that the Internet is increasingly becoming an income source for many of its content contributers. One example of this is many youtube channels, another is blogs here. People upload and post content for their fans and the world to see, and when people view the content, the content provider gets a cut of the ad revenue. Which to me is completely fair.
Except if the viewer is an AdBlock user, the neither the content contributer nor the platform provider, gets anything out of it. Its easy to justify not adding to corporate profits, but taking from small time contributers (in my mind), is another matter.
I knew a person who started a “hangout” page/group on facebook for like minded individuals a couple years ago now. In the 2 years that it existed, the page and the group attracted over 10,000 followers, with many contributing to the content of the place (and otherwise just keeping the conversation going). Which is all well and good.
But I found it interesting to learn that one of the founders, was a user of AdBlock.
Some may read this and think “Who cares?!”.
For me, its the whole idea that it seems to be, biting the hand that feeds.
Facebook not only provided an easy and simplistic environment for the creators to set up and maintain groups and pages, but also provided the framework for tens of thousands of users to discover AND utilize the groups and pages. All at the crazy cost of, nothing. While not a PERFECT comparison, it seems a bit like renting a banquet hall from a hotel, heavily utilizing all the services provided, then skipping out on the bill.
I do not want to come off as, being against (or having hostility) towards users of such ad blocking services. But I just can not help but to think of what the Internet would be like, if EVERYONE started using such software out of annoyance with ads.